A summer internship offers an opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience in their chosen career field, but it may also offer something else: the possibility of landing a full-time position. (See: 7 Tips to Help Land That Internship.)

According to a study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, students who accept paid internship positions are more likely to receive an offer of full-time employment and a higher salary offer from their future employers compared to students who opt for unpaid internships. Students who took a paid internship with a private, for-profit company ultimately received a median salary offer of $53,421, compared to $34,375 for students who chose unpaid internships. 

Finding a paid internship opportunity can improve your job outlook down the line, but there’s a more immediate benefit: the paycheck. Some companies, however, are more generous than others when it comes to handing out salaries to interns. (Such companies may also pay more generous salaries than those that can't afford to pay their interns, one likely reason for the link between paid internships and higher starting salaries noted above.)

Glassdoor recently released a survey highlighting where the best-paying internships are for 2017. Here’s a look at which companies make an internship the most worthwhile financially.

Tech and Media Companies Dominate the Top 10

The top 10 companies included in the Glassdoor survey all offer $6,000 or more in monthly pay for interns. Apart from ExxonMobil (XOM), all the companies included in this group are either in the tech or media sectors. Perhaps not surprisingly, Facebook (FB) proves to be the best spot for interns who are looking to pocket a big paycheck. In addition to a median monthly pay of $8,000, interns enjoy plenty of perks, including free food, housing and weekend events.(See Internships: Find the Best One for You.)

Company

Median Monthly Pay

1. Facebook

$8,000

2. Microsoft

$7,100

3. ExxonMobil

$6,507

4. Salesforce

$6,450

5. Amazon

$6,400

6. Apple

$6,400

7. Bloomberg L.P.

$6,400

8. Yelp

$6,400

9. Yahoo

$6,080

10. VMware

$6,080

Looking at the companies ranked 11th through 25th, tech remains a key player, but the rankings also include another energy company as well as several companies in the finance sector. Capital One (COF), Deutsche Bank (DB), AIG (AIG) and Bank of America (BAC) ranked 20th, 23rd, 24th and 25th, respectively. The median monthly pay for interns at these financial companies ranges from $4,570 at Bank of America to $5,000 at Capital One.

Higher monthly pay appears to correspond to a higher base pay for interns who make the transition to full-time employment. At Facebook, for example, software engineers earn base salaries ranging from $101,637 to $153,657. That doesn’t include annual bonuses or profit sharing. By comparison, a software engineer at Bank of America earns a base salary of $86,088 to $147,949. Again, that doesn’t include bonuses or profit sharing. Interns who are hoping for a higher salary as they start their careers should bear in mind this relationship between summer internship pay and base pay.

Choosing Your Internship Destination

The window for applying for summer internships typically runs from early fall to late May. If you haven’t secured an internship spot yet or you’d like to get a jump on planning for next year, there are a few things to keep in mind if a high-paying gig is the goal.

First, you must know what your goals are and what you hope to get out of your internship experience. Are you hoping to find a mentor, for example, or just to get a feel for whether a particular career path is a good fit? In other words, look beyond the potential paycheck and consider what you’re going to be able to take away from your time as an intern. (See 6 Ways Mentors Elevate Your Career.)

Next, think about your personal strengths and how they align with the culture of the company where you’re hoping to intern. Companies like Facebook emphasize a collaborative approach and interns are expected to be highly engaged throughout their internship. You need to be confident that the internship environment you’re considering is a good fit for your personality.

Obviously, your skill set is also important. If you're seeking a tech or financial internship, you will likely need some level of math or computer training.Read up as soon as possible on the skills potential employers seek in interns and plan to take the courses that will make you a good candidate.

Finally, be as prepared as possible for the application process. Internship positions will be limited and competition is likely to be high. Take time to practice for the interview portion and refine your elevator pitch. If the company you’re hoping to intern with offers online resources to help you prepare, take full advantage of them so you’re putting your best foot forward.

The Bottom Line

If tech, energy or finance piques your interest, this year’s crop of the highest-paying internships holds a lot of promise. If you’re interning someplace other than one of the companies included on Glassdoor’s list, don’t stress over the size of your monthly pay. Remember, the experience you’re gaining as an intern can be invaluable once you’re ready to enter the workforce.

If you do find yourself earning a good paycheck, this is an excellent time to open your first IRA. (If you're under 21, your parents may need to open it for you – see The Benefits of Starting an IRA for Your Child.) Thinking about retirement now sounds crazy, but this is an important first step into your future. 

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